OmniVision Introduces Integrated Night Vision Capability in Automotive Sensor Products

Jan. 1, 2020
SUNNYVALE, CA (Aug. 14, 2007) - OmniVision Technologies Inc., an independent supplier of complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) CameraChip image sensors for high-volume applications, has unveiled an important enhancement, Near-Infrared (NIR)
TECHNOLOGY FOCUSOmniVision Introduces Integrated Night Vision Capability in Automotive Sensor ProductsSUNNYVALE, CA (Aug. 14, 2007) - OmniVision Technologies Inc., an independent supplier of complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) CameraChip image sensors for high-volume applications, has unveiled an important enhancement, Near-Infrared (NIR) capability, to its portfolio of single-chip automotive CMOS image sensors. What is lux?Simply stated, the lux is the metric unit for measuring the amount of light that falls on an object, and is the European equivalent of the British foot-candle (or lumen). "During daylight hours, our sensor provides a standard color image and then, as soon as natural light levels fall below a pre-determined lux level, the sensor automatically switches to black-and-white night-vision mode," explains Inayat Khajasha, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision. The new night-vision capability is made possible by the development and successful implementation of a number of process-level enhancements that expand the sensor's spectral light sensitivity up to 1,050 nanometers, the equivalent of NIR sensitivity. This enhanced sensitivity enables sensors to perform object detection in complete darkness with the support of only a few very low-power light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and allows automotive cameras to see both beyond and outside the range of a vehicle's headlights.  With integrated NIR capability, the company's automotive sensors can also operate in dual mode, allowing them to function equally well in both day and night vision applications, and thus eliminate the need for two separate solutions. The NIR capability significantly improves functionality for automotive safety and security applications while allowing OEMs and automotive manufacturers to simplify system designs and reduce the overall system cost.
Photo - OmniVision Technologies Inc.


The company says the dual-mode night-vision capability offered by the sensors is especially useful in driver assistance and safety applications, such as pedestrian, object and sign detection, as well as rear-view or backup camera applications. A growing number of automotive security applications are also using image sensors - one example being "black box" anti-theft camera systems that record video when activated by motion detection around or inside the vehicle. The LEDs have a negligible effect on vehicle battery life, so the system will remain active even when the vehicle is not operated for lengthy periods of time.

"The development of many automotive security applications that effectively utilize night vision capabilities is being driven in part by the automotive insurance industry," Khajasha says. "Vehicles with these monitoring and recording systems [may] qualify for lower insurance premiums because they reduce the risk of theft, vandalism and other vehicle-related crimes."

(Source: OmniVision Technologies Inc.)

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